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Shepway District Council set to put plans to government for Otterpool Park garden town

Plans to build a new town of 12,000 homes on fields near Folkestone Racecourse will be discussed by Shepway District Council next week.

The new garden settlement around Westenhanger, Sellindge and Lympne will potentially be home to 29,000 people, it says in a nine-page report about Shepway District Council’s proposals.

Cabinet members will be asked to approve a formal “expression of interest” to the government later in June on the grounds the proposals have the “potential to be a unique opportunity” which would boost the local economy, jobs and homes.

The report goes on to say that the council has been looking at the “economic potential” of the land around Westenhanger and junction 11 of the M20, since 2014. Government officials have already visited the site with Shepway council officers, and cabinet members will be briefed that the government response was “receptive without commitment to an early expression of interested”.

Cllr David Monk revealed when the plans for Otterpool Park were first announced last month, work would be phased over 30 years should approval be granted.

The proposals for the town include 100,000 sq m of commercial space, 12,000 new homes, new schools, leisure facilities and open spaces. The community facilities will be an integral part of the development with walking, cycling and sustainable transport a priority. The vision is that it will be designed so as to embrace and enhance the natural landscape with a network of green open space of the highest quality.

The council has promised to hold “comprehensive community engagement” in developing proposals for the new garden town, although opponents have already launched a campaign to fight the announcement and will hold a protest along the A20 on Saturday.

Cllr Monk, leader of the council said: “It is the responsibility of each generation to provide for the coming generations – to enable them to be employed and to have a home.

“A planning process will take place during which we will actively engage with the people of Shepway.

“I believe that the benefits of this proposal will be enormous, with homes for all, opportunities from apprenticeships in the construction industry and accommodation for new businesses in flexible, well-connected workspaces.”


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